When Did Guns Become Political?

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No, I’m not being facetious or trying to argue they aren’t political because they definitely have become so, but I want to know when.

Yesterday I set up my first ad on Amazon (Yae!) They looked at my proposal and this morning I got an email saying it was accepted and my ads will start going through the bids to be displayed today.

BUT they said they could not include my ad as an ebook reader ad (those ones that come up on your kindle before you open it to suggest books you might like based on genre) because there is a gun and/or ammo on the cover.

Oh Realllllllly, there’s a gun on the cover of an urban fantasy novel, ya don’t say.

Sorry, I’m a little bitchy today, the snark is running as high as the pollen 🙂

So my ad is still running, just not on the ebook readers, so I looked into it.  They restrict certain content from being displayed on their homepage and/or ebook readers.  The list had some strange stuff like diet book (no clue why) and the only thing I can think that would apply here is the bullet (ha!) on the list saying political things may be restricted.

That’s probably where the gun fell, but why?  Think back to times when people hunted as a way of life, had guns to protect against bears and bandits on the edge of civilization when they were settling the west.  Think about the old western trope where the sheriff and the black hat shoot it out in the square at high noon.

When did guns go from being these tools we use to catch food and shoot bad guys to being this huge political statement?  I don’t have guns on my covers as a political statement, I have them because weapons are part of the signalling for urban fantasy and my characters use guns.  Why do they use them?  Cuz they work.

I’m not a history buff, and I’ll be asking my gun and history expert when I get home tonight when guns went from tools to political statement.  I have a guess, but really, history is not my thing, my memory sucks.

So I’m tossing this out to you readers.  What point in history did guns go from tool to political tool?  When did they stop being things you use to protect your family and kill your dinner to these mystical things that magically make people killers and stand up and shoot on their own?  (If you’ve seen anything in the media the past twenty years or so, you get that I’m joking but it’s based on this very real spin they try to put on gun deaths).

If you’ve been paying attention to a certain politician running for president, you’ll catch on to some of this mythological guns which magically turn people evil thing.  You know, that one who said Heller was a wrong decision and we should get rid of handguns, because the 2nd amendment, and only the 2nd amendment, should be interpreted to mean only technology that was possible at the time of writing it.

And, next question, when did guns start becoming “offensive.”  No, that term wasn’t used on Amazon, but I have seen it used on Facebook to block gun photos just like it blocks nude photos.  When did a tool become offensive?  When did a woman having something to protect herself against someone a hell of a lot bigger and stronger become something to fight against?  When did American presidential candidates start running on platforms of decreasing rights instead of increasing them?

And for now, since I am in a mood, I leave you with pictures which I am hoping will offend EVERYONE 😉

(All covers and photos by Oleg Volk, or ones of him done by his friends 😉

 

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A well-equipped explorer.

Okay, so I’ve got guns and half naked girl.  Is everyone sufficiently offended?  Good.  Because my lunch break’s over 😉

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3 thoughts on “When Did Guns Become Political?

  1. Guns have always been political. The invention of guns ended the era of the armoured knight, turning excellence in war from something to which you had to devote your entire life to something that you could learn and be a farmer/baker/&c.

    This undercut the idea that peasants should support the nobles so the nobles could be their martial protectors, thus ending feudalism.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Very close – longbowmen initially ushered in a period where peasants could have a decisive impact on warfare, slaughtering hundreds of mounted aristocratic knights (see Agincourt, Crecy, Poitiers in the 100 Years War – the French knights refused to engage the English archers because they were not seen as a worthy foe, preferring to charge the English armoured foot troops). The problem was that to be an effective longbowman took years of practise, to the extent that they were over-muscled freaks (a modern archer couldn’t pull a full war bow back to its full extent).
      By contrast, any idiot could fire a gun. So although the initial rate of fire of early muskets was pretty poor compared to top archers, recruitment was easy and training was minimal. Round lead shot was also much easier to make than a good armour-piercing or flesh-tearing arrow.
      But until the industrial revolution started churning out weapons (and ammunition) that were relatively cheap and not so likely to kill the person firing it, guns themselves were still expensive and beyond the financial reach of the average citizen. Unless your job required one of course, like a farmer, to shoot pests & predators.
      So by the mid to late 1800s there are more and more guns appearing at the lower end of the social scale. After WW1, there are millions of men capable of shooting weapons with reasonable competence, which makes governments jittery – there had just been a Bolshevik revolution in Russia. So that’s when the UK got its first gun laws (1920).
      My personal opinion of guns is that they’re very cool but, like nuclear reactors, you shouldn’t let just anyone have one.

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  2. 1969. The image of the redneck driving a pickup truck with gun racks in the back (to shoot hippies) hit the glam circuit, with the final scene in the movie ‘Easy Rider.’ Before that, they weren’t so much a social icon; see the movie “Billy Jack” for example. That’s a BIT simplistic, but accurate.

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